Geography

Interconnected, machine readable data, at scale

The NGA provides a free database with no regulations on its use. MaxMind takes some coordinates from that database and slaps IP addresses on them. Then IP mapping sites, as well as phone carriers offering “find my phone” services, display those coordinates on maps as distinct and exact locations, ignoring the “accuracy radius” that is supposed to accompany them.

“We assume the correctness of data, and often these people who are supposed to be competent make mistakes and those mistakes then are very detrimental to people’s daily lives,” said Olivier. “We need to get to a point where responsibility can be assigned to individuals who use data to ensure that they use the data correctly.”

From Kashmir Hill writing on the role of interconnected data in our modern lives. In this case it’s geo IP data, but it’s a story that’s increasingly common and likely in any field.

Two years after MaxMind first became aware of this problem with default [geo IP] locations, its lawyer says it’s still trying to fix it.

Bad maps are ruining American broadband

Karl Bode in The Verge:

In policy conversations, ISP lobbyists lean heavily on the FCC’s flawed data to falsely suggest that American broadband is dirt cheap and ultra competitive, despite real-world evidence to the contrary. ISPs also use this false reality to imply meaningful consumer protections aren’t necessary because the market is healthy (as we saw during the fight over net neutrality).

Data sources for geographic boundaries

world.geo.json

To mock something fast and loose with geo-json data for the world, this is your fix. Legal status of this dataset: dubious?

For a good time, drag them to http://bl.ocks.org/1431429 and paint the globe!

world-atlas

[A] convenient mechanism for generating TopoJSON files from Natural Earth.

Natural Earth

Natural Earth is a public domain map dataset available at 1:10m, 1:50m, and 1:110 million scales. Featuring tightly integrated vector and raster data, with Natural Earth you can make a variety of visually pleasing, well-crafted maps with cartography or GIS software.

Natural Earth solves a problem: finding suitable data for making small-scale maps. In a time when the web is awash in geospatial data, cartographers are forced to waste time sifting through confusing tangles of poorly attributed data to make clean, legible maps. Because your time is valuable, Natural Earth data comes ready-to-use.

Built For A Purpose: Geographical Affordances and Crime

In Cabinet spring 2013, Geoff Manaugh investigates the relationship between geography and the crimes that geography affords. In the 1990s, Los Angeles held the dubious title of “bank robbery capital of the world.” At its height, the city’s bank crime rate hit the incredible frequency of one bank robbed every forty-five minutes of every working […] » about 300 words

Civic Comparators

It’s from early 2007, but Cameron Marlow’s comparison of SF to NYC neighborhoods and Jason Kottke’s comparison of the physical geography are amusing to me as a new San Franciscan. On the other hand, is it a sign of civic insecurity to make such comparisons? » about 100 words

GeoTagging Gets A New Meaning

Who doesn’t love tagging? No, tagging as in annotating, not graffiti. Anyway, Rixome is the latest among a bunch of plans/projects to enable tagging of geographic spaces/real-life environments. The good people at We Make Money Not Art had this in their post: rixome is a network and a tool that turns mobile screens into windows […] » about 300 words